Owens: A call for more ski resort transparency
Ryan Summerlin March 25, 2013
Thanks very much for printing the “Mountains of Risk” series from the Denver Post. As someone who was seriously injured by a hit-and-run snowboarder last year, I’m well aware of the fact that ski injuries are a problem that has gotten far too little attention. And I believe the main reason for that is because ski resorts consider injury statistics to be proprietary information. Since most of the Colorado ski resorts are built and operated by permit in our national forests, which are public land, it’s my contention that anything that happens in them should be public information. And I’m hoping that will soon be the case.
As the Denver Post series made clear, the Colorado Ski Safety Act is written and designed to protect ski areas from lawsuits whenever a skier or snowboarder is involved in an accident. And that is further assured by the requirement that pass holders sign a waiver that basically releases the ski resort of all liability in the event of accidents.
The Ski Safety Act lists about 11 duties and responsibilities of skiers. But when a skier or snowboarder violates any one of them and causes an injury to another skier, it is solely the responsibility of the injured skier to take action against the violator. And if that person is a hit-and-run, which was the case with my injuries, the victim is left with no recourse against anyone.
I’m well aware that there are many “inherent dangers and risks of skiing” as stated in the Ski Safety Act. And I’m willing to take responsibility for any injuries that are my fault. But it’s time for ski resorts to take more responsibility for those who pay a lot of money to ski or snowboard at their resorts.
Dave Owens, Frisco